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"Catching the Wave" is the twenty-ninth episode in Season 5 (and one hundred forty-fifth overall) of Regular Show. It first aired on June 19, 2014.
Nature-lover Pops is relaxing by a stream in the woods when he spots a squirrel going about its squirrely business. Moved by the harmonious sight, Pops recites a poem he wrote about being at one with nature. It goes well until he enacts the ending by hugging a nearby rose bush. He is subsequently pricked by a thorn, stung by a bee, smacked in the face by a loose branch, fallen on his knees over a rock and into a river, and attacked by a bale of snapping turtles.
Meanwhile, at The Park, Mordecai and Rigby are watching a TV program about surfing. They poke fun at the way the surfer dudes say “brah” all the time, not noticing the irony in the similar way they use “dude” every other sentence. Pops returns home crying, still looking pretty banged up from his previous encounter with the great outdoors. A concerned Mordecai asks him what's wrong. Pops answers that he is having a bad day with nature and decides to try watching TV with his friends. In the program a surfer dude is talking about his love of surfing and how it makes him feel completely at one with nature. Inspired by this, Pops immediately cheers up and decides to try surfing to get back on nature's good side.
So Pops gears up in his latest Victorian-era bathing suit and hits the beach. Armed with his own surfboard and an instructional book titled “Peachy Perry’s 3 P’s to Surfing Perfect”, he practices the basic paddling, pivoting and popping-up manoeuvres in the sand. However he keeps losing his balance at the popping-up part due to the disproportionately large size of head. A group of three brawny surfers notice his failing attempts and goes over to mock him. Their leader, introduced as Hurl Hurlbutt makes fun of Pops's big head, claiming he has the worst body for surfing ever. Pops defends himself, saying that anyone can surf according to Peachy, but Hurl brushes off the notion stating that Peachy was dead. They are interrupted by a large swell rising in the water. Hurl and his associates jump at the opportunity while Pops, determined to prove himself as a competent surfer follows them in. Unfortunately the wave crashes him into the three surfers and wipes them all out. Now with a vengeful mob of surfers after him, Pops is chased off the beach and makes a narrow escape on Carmenita.
Back at The Park, Mordecai and Rigby are having fun messing with the garage door. They turn to see a dejected Pops pull up the driveway. After learning about his disastrous run at the beach, the duo suggest Pops forget about the whole surfing thing and stick to his comfort zone. Mordecai reasons that the surfers can't be at one with nature if they chased him off the beach, but Pops maintains his faith in what the TV people told him. So the trio decide that Pops could take a break from the other surfers by creating his own wave-riding conditions at the park lake. Pops becomes excited at the idea and proposes using imported dolphins to liven up the atmosphere. Mordecai politely suggests just getting a wave machine.
At the lakefront, the wave machine has been set up and turned on. An enthusiastic Pops is in the water, making dismal attempts to surf while Mordecai and Rigby cheer him on from the bank. Despite trying to be supportive, they both end up thinking that this wasn't going to work. As luck would have it, moments later Pops is thrown underwater and ends up getting his head jammed in the wave machine's suction pipe.
One presumably frantic rescue later, Pops is in his bed being looked over by Dr. Henry with Mordecai, Rigby and Benson at his side. Dr. Henry warns Pops against surfing due to the potential harm it poses to his body. He uses the analogy that Pops's head and spine are like a bowling ball and a stick of angel hair pasta, popping-up during surfing could literally snap his body in half. Pops however is more concerned with not being able to be at one with nature and rejects the advice. So Dr. Henry tasks Mordecai and Rigby with keeping Pops from endangering himself. The two assure the good doctor that they'll guard Pops through the night, only to promptly fall asleep at their post.
At the break of dawn next morning, Pops is already back in the lake with his surfboard. He is unexpectedly joined by Hurl, Merle and Burl, who somehow found out about the location. They are not pleased to see Pops in the water with them. Cut back to outside Pops's room and Mordecai and Rigby are just waking up. Mordecai panics at finding out they both dozed off on the job, but Rigby is confident that Pops couldn't have made it past them. Plus, he reasoned, there was no way Pops escaped through the window with that giant head of his. They open the door to find a Pops-sized hole sawn through the wall and their friend nowhere to be seen. Now both screaming in panic, Mordecai and Rigby scramble out after Pops.
Back at the lake, the three surfer dudes have turned violent against Pops. Mordecai, Rigby and the rest of the gang arrive just in time to see them knock their colleague off his board. Rushing to his defence via rowboat and swan paddle boat, the guys are able to fend off Pop's attackers and chase them out of the water. Not willing to back down, the surfer dudes use “the ancient call of the surfers” to send for reinforcements. Almost instantaneously a whole convey of surfer dudes and chicks turn up in cars, RVs, mopeds and helicopters. They overwhelmed the Park workers and knock them into the water.
In the midst of all the chaos, Pops is still trying to ride his first wave. Meanwhile, Hurl and his crew have gotten a hold of the wave machine controls. Hurl begins to crank up the intensity of the wave, much to Pops's fright, while Merle and Burl go out to knock him off his board again. The rest of the Park workers notice this and attempt to wrestle the controls out of Hurl's hands. In the ensuing struggle the control is crushed, permanently setting the wave machine to maximum intensity. This creates an enormous inland tsunami that throws off all the surfers except Pops, who somehow manages to stay on his board. Hurl stops his buddies from getting back on the wave, saying that it would be suicide. Mordecai yells a warning to Pops that he must not wipe-out on this wave, or he'll die. All the while Pops is screaming in terror and clinging on for dear life.
As both allies and enemies flee from the deadly tsunami, Pops tries to talk himself into riding the wave. He admits that he is afraid of the surfer dudes and his body failing him, but most of all he's afraid of nature and confused as to why it turned on him. Acknowledging this, Pops overcomes his fear and successfully pops-up on his board. Exhilarated by what he just pulled off, Pops does a happy jig on his surfboard while being cheered on by his friends from below. He is joined by a flock of seagulls, a pod of dolphins and a blue whale that appears under him out of nowhere. The blue whale communicates with Pops through the power of subtitles, telling him that he passed his test and is one with nature once more, to which he replies that he'll never fight with naturee again. Meanwhile, the pod of dolphins leap over a newly formed rainbow and crush Hurl and his crew (who were about to leave to get some fish tacos) in a spectacular kamikaze style attack, killing all 3 of them.
Having escaped certain death, the Park workers look on in awe at the unfolding events. Mordecai asks if Pops will ever be back, and Benson tearfully answers that he is with nature now. Meanwhile, Pops rides the tsunami triumphantly through town, oblivious to the massive amounts of property damage it's causing.
- The "ancient call of the surfers" is actually a song called Wipe Out. The song was written in 1963 by a surf band called The Surfaris.
- The way the dolphins crushed the surfers is similar to an act called "kamikaze." "Kamikaze" is an act the Japanese fighter pilots did during World War II, in which the pilots suicide crash their planes onto war boats.
- Hurl Hurlbutt cranked the wave machine up to 11, similar to This is Spinal Tap, in which the band members crank their speakers up to 11, the highest setting there is.
- Dr. Henry tried to show Pops what surfing will do to him through the use of a lollipop. He says "This is your body." He then cracks the lollipop in half. "And this is your body on surfing. Any questions?" This is a reference to an often quoted anti-drug commercial from 1987.